Frontier and Spirit Airlines announce merger, advisory warnings to users reduce negative Twitter posts, and Amazon spends big on salaries
Also: Kia partners with pet adoption nonprofit for Super Bowl campaign, Bank of England governor takes heat over remarks on wages, and more.
Automaker Kia America has debuted its Super Bowl ahead of the big game, promoting the brand’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle using a Robo Dog doing a dance to the song “Total Eclipse of The Heart.” The dog is a visual nod to the campaign’s partnership with the Petfinder Foundation, which helps shelter animals find loving homes as part of Kia’s “Accelerate the Good” program.
Kia is extending the footprint of this campaign by using the Robo Dog’s “Turn Around Dance” to create a series on TikTok with five content creators and creating a QR Code-based “Robo Dogmented Reality” experience that allows users to search for adoptable animals in their local areas through the partnership with the Petfinder Foundation:
“To introduce over 100 million viewers to the Kia EV6, we wanted to juxtapose the future with the emotions we all know and understand today – the love that can be shared between a human and an animal,” Kia America VP Russel Wagner said in the press release.
Kia’s latest cause marketing campaign demonstrates how a brand can effectively weave one purpose (promoting a new electric vehicle) to another (animal welfare). Offering innovative resources that encourage your audiences to engage with the work your partners are doing demonstrates an investment that goes beyond making a donation.
Here are today’s other top stories:
Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines announce merger
Budget airline Frontier is buying competitor Spirit Airlines. In its announcement of the deal, the companies stressed the complimentary networks they serve while emphasizing the needs of the workforce and commitments to sustainability.
The brands said that this merger will promote competition in the industry and allow the combined fleet to expand service to underserved and mid-sized cities across the US with the youngest, most fuel-efficient and greenest fleet in the country while adding 10,000 jobs by 2026.
According to a joint press release:
“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” said Ted Christie, President and CEO of Spirit. “This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our Guests even better, expand career opportunities for our Team Members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public. We look forward to uniting our talented teams to shake up the airline industry while also continuing our commitment to excellent Guest service.”
“Together, Frontier and Spirit will be America’s Greenest Airline and deliver more ultra-low fares to more people in more places,” said Barry Biffle, President and CEO of Frontier. “I couldn’t be more excited for our team members, customers, partners, the communities we serve and our shareholders.”
In a classic example of bad timing, Frontier airlines cancelled 22% of Monday flights on the same day its purchase of Spirit was announced.
Frontier spokesperson Jennifer DeLaCruz blamed a technology issue, which grounded flights. In its request for a ground stop, the airline cited “automation issues,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Unfortunately, we woke up to a system outage this morning,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle told USA TODAY.
Why it matters:
The large number of Frontier flight cancelations may not have overshadowed the big news, but it highlights how the merger announcement makes no mention of how this move will impact the reliability of flights and service. Frontier’s cancelations also call to mind Spirit’s PR debacle from the summer of 2021 when the airline canceled hundreds of flights and left many passengers camping out in airports.
Remember that a merger or acquisition can be a prime opportunity to position how your organization will solve for operational challenges and mitigate future crises with its new resources.
New research from Cornell found that Twitter’s on-screen prompt for users to review potentially harmful or offensive tweets before publishing them prompted users to change or delete their replies 30% of the time.
“This decrease in the creation of offensive content can be attributed not just to the deletion and revision of prompted Tweets—we also observed a decrease in both the number of offensive Tweets that prompted users create in the future and the number of offensive replies to prompted Tweets,” the study’s authors wrote. “We conclude that interventions allowing users to reconsider their comments can be an effective mechanism for reducing offensive content online.”
This study highlights how communicators with platforms can act as ethical, values-based conduits for discussion and moderators of conversation to promote healthier public interactions and discourse.
Check out more from the study here.
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The governor for the Bank of England is in hot water after asking Britons not to ask for higher wages even as the country faces a crisis over cost-of-living increases. The gaffe came in an interview with the BBC following moves to raise interest rates.
Speaking to the BBC hours after the central bank imposed back-to-back interest rate hikes, the governor said businesses should assert “restraint” in pay negotiations to help battle 30-year high inflation.
When asked by the BBC whether the Bank was asking workers not to demand big pay rises, Bailey said: “Broadly, yes.”
He said that while it would be “painful” for workers, some “moderation of wage rises” is needed to prevent inflation from becoming entrenched.
It’s a reminder for PR pros and media trainers that direct answers to questions can offer clarity—but won’t paper over an unpopular decision.
The news comes as financial authorities are struggling to deal with rising inflation, leading to more expensive prices on goods from cars to grocery staples. Yet, even as rising wages are contributing to rising inflation, the message that workers should sacrifice their purchasing power is falling flat.
“Telling the hard-working people who carried this country through the pandemic they don’t deserve a pay rise is outrageous,” said Gary Smith, general secretary of the pan-industry GMB trade union.
“According to Mr Bailey, carers, NHS workers, refuse collectors, shop workers and more should just swallow a massive real-terms pay cut at the same time as many are having to choose between heating and eating.”
The story is a cautionary tale for business leaders looking to drive down wage costs by telling employees they are asking for too much.
Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network
PR Daily is launching the PR Daily Leadership Network, a unique membership group from Ragan Communications offering peer-to-peer advisory and team training along with a unique slate of resources and events to help public relations professionals break through the noise, increase their visibility and forge meaningful connections.
The Network provides daily insights and coverage on a range of topics including media relations, social media, measurement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, branding, thought leadership and crisis communications.
“The fast pace of change coupled with the demand on public relations professionals to protect and sometimes defend their company’s reputation make it imperative for leaders to tap into the wisdom of other communicators and continue to learn and grow,” says Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. “The PR Daily Leadership Network provides the answers but also encourages members to question the status quo and push for positive change.”
Visit leadership.prdaily.com to learn more.
Amazon announces plans to more than double employee base salary max
Amazon told employees it will raise the base maximum salary for corporate and tech workers from $160,000 to $350,000. The company said it plans to eventually increase overall compensation ranges for most jobs globally, but stressed the changes and compensation ranges will affect each employee differently.
“This past year has seen a particularly competitive labor market and in doing a thorough analysis of various options, weighing the economics of our business and the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent, we decided to make meaningfully bigger increases to our compensation levels than we do in a typical year,” the company said in the internal post.
In addition to increasing base pay and compensation range, Amazon announced changes in the timing of compensation for employees when they are promoted. Managers will review compensation at the time of a promotion, and issue additional stock awards mid-year as warranted, rather than waiting until the next annual compensation cycle, “to better align newly promoted employees with the compensation range of their new level.”
What it means:
Amazon’s drastic increase in its salary guidance arrives at a time when companies seeking to beat “the big quit” must look at how compensation packages stack up against other competitors in their industry. The company’s post sends a message to employees that it knows where it stands in the market and, more importantly, values the work they do.
Considering that the memo was provided to a prominent tech publication (and not leaked), it serves as an external message about how Amazon cares for and invests in employees. Pulling back the curtain on how they work is no longer just about practicing transparency as an ethical principle, but helps increase the chances that prospective employees who choose to spend their talent are likely to be satisfied.